BMW has presented a new Concept Active Tourer, which is the first to arrive from a range of front-drive entry-level BMWs that has long been mooted. This is tantamount to BMW’s decision to forget about its tradition of longitudinally mounted engines and rear-wheel drive. At the Paris motor show, BMW unveiled the five-door hatchback, a plug-in hybrid with four-wheel drive.
The front wheels are driven by a transversely mounted engine. This implies that entry-level BMWs from the new small car line-up will have front-wheel drive. Meanwhile, an electric motor is powering the rear wheels.
The platform is referred to as UKL1; it will be used in two wheelbase lengths both for the next-generation Mini line-up and the new range of entry-level BMWs to enter the 1-series line-up starting in late 2013. BMW is depending on this range to boost BMW’s annual sales volumes to two million by 2020.
It will feature a new MPV previewed by the Concept Active Tourer to compete with the Mercedes B-class and Volkswagen Golf Plus. The Concept Active Tourer displays BMW’s new 1.5-litre three-cylinder direct injection petrol engine that is believed to soon be a staple of the small BMW and Mini line-ups. It has a codename of B38 and it will be utilized in the i8 sports car where it is fitted longitudinally.
The twin-scroll turbocharged engine is from a new modular family that will later support three, four and six-cylinder petrol and diesel powerplants, promising as much as a 60% component commonality to result to more flexibility in production than the current engines.
BMW Active Tourer Concept shows athletic sophistication from every corner with its unified proportions. Its small dimensions, versatility and functionality can be well integrated to achieve a dynamic build. The refined and elegant appearance of the Active Tourer is a product of its special outer High Reflection Silver paint finish.
At the same time, several accents have been added on the front, rear and side of the car. Its surfaces are done in glossy polish while its undersurface is painted in velvet matt. This low-key mixture of gloss and matt highlights the interplay of shadow and light produced by the new outer paint finish.
It cannot be mistaken that the BMW Active Tourer Concept has retained its expressive front view that is common among BMWs. The uniquely front-tilting radiator grille was the most eye-catching element. The twin headlines were also striking with their ED positioning lamps extending far back to the panels on the side. The multi-angle apron on the front also merges to emphasize the athletic stature of the Active Tourer Concept. Moreover, the two pieces of outer air inlets which are located under the headlights also put emphasis on the wide front.
Looking at the side, the stretched shadow with its wedge structure provides a vibrant feel to the Active Tourer Concept even when it’s standing still – a characteristic that is distinctive in the class. Its contrasting side sills and door openers are integrated with its 20-inch wheels to make the Active Tourer sportier and more elegant. Despite the car’s seemingly compact exterior, it has a long wheelbase and short front and rear body overhangs contributing to a generous interior. The front and rear large doors and elevated roof line also allow comfortable access to the seats.